Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nonprofit consortium buys Point Reyes Light

A consortium of West Marin residents has purchased the Point Reyes Light from Robert Plotkin (pictured), who had promised to turn the weekly into a New Yorker magazine of the West but encountered hostility from residents and community leaders.

The Chronicle says Plotkin sold the paper for far less than the $500,000 he paid David Mitchell for the paper five years ago. Mitchell, who won a Pulitzer in 1979 for public service reporting, feuded with Plotkin over the past few years.

The nonprofit, called the Marin Media Group, has received $350,000 in donations from 75 people including Wells Fargo heir F. Warren Hellman and the descendants of the family that previously owned the Chronicle. Members of the nonprofit's board includes Mark Dowie, a former publisher of Mother Jones magazine and a UC-Berkeley journalism professor; anti-globalization activist Jerry Mander, and author Norman Solomon, according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal.

Plotkin fired off an angry statement after the sale was announced, saying:
    "I am glad she is marrying into West Marin's hippy oligarchy, who can more easily support her spendthrift habits. ... 
    "Sadly, West Marin did not want editorial excellence. They did not want to see behind the curtain. They wanted a newspaper that would record their births, celebrate their accomplishments and habitually congratulate them on living here. But most of all, the neo-romantics of West Marin took themselves too seriously."

Mitchell, whose column was dropped by Plotkin, told the Marin IJ that he will be writing for the Light again after the sale. (Photo credit: Chris Stewart, Chronicle)

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